Monday, August 13

What an Awful Game

In the list of top two worst summer league games in 2007, this could occupy either spot.

The short of it is that we lost 8-10 to Red in a game that would have been very useful to win.

The long of it is that not only did I complete zero hucks (while attempting more than zero) but I also injured 2 guys from Red on unrelated and completely clean plays. Worse than that, on the first play I injured Heng-Scheng (a Pike teammates) and on the second, I injured Zac Roy (fellow NYU alum).

The first play, I was playing short deep in the zone, and I read the thrower perfectly as the disc was about to be realeased, I started my move toward the space it was headed into. I took a couple more steps, accelerated and laid out at about shoulder height to get my fingers on the disc. Just after I got my fingers on the disc, I felt a seriously powerful collision. I felt the contact on my hip and realized that Heng-Scheng had been coming from my blind spot to make a play on the disc. As we both hit the ground, I was aware of a bunch of pain in my hip, so I stayed down for a bit to check myself out.

Once I realized that I was okay, I also realized that Heng-Scheng was not. Apparently, my hip made significant contact with his quad. He was in much more pain. It didn't seem like anyone else was going to help him (or me for that matter) so I got up and calmed him down a bit before we figured out exactly what was wrong. The bet at this point is that it is just gonna be a nasty-ass bruise.

Later in the game, a pretty terrible huck went up to me on a broken pull-play with Zac covering me. Zac, being 3-4 inches taller than me, has a serious advantage when we're both stationary under the disc, so I did my best to box him out and not give him space to jump. I thought I had him, but he went up anyway, and righteously skied me. The problem, however, is that when you jump high, you have to come down at some point. When he came down, he landed on some part of me or something and twisted his ankle. I didn't even know what to do at this point. I just wanted the game to be over so that no one else got hurt.

The game plays tricks with your mind sometimes. I know that neither is my fault, but they still made me tentative. It also made me a big ball of negativity which did not help my team or engender me to the players on the other team with whom I had no prior relationship. Ah well. Just another experience from which to learn.

One more game on Wednesday to determine our postseason seeding, and then playoffs on Saturday.


gapoole said...

So what do you do when this sort of thing happens in an important game? Regionals quarterfinals, you injure a fellow alum on the opposing team. I don't think there's much real animosity in Ultimate, even between "rival" teams--they often have the most respect for each other, I should think. Any experience getting beyond this?

dusty.rhodes said...

The experience getting beyond this, for me, has led to the following conclusions:

1. If you don't play recklessly, your conscience will be clean in the end.
2. We all agree, by playing club-level ultimate, to a certain amount of risk. It IS part of the game.
3. I have a hierarchy in my mind of how aggressively (NOT recklessly) I can play and still be within the bounds of acceptable behavior. At the top is Nationals, just below that is Regionals. Just below that are things like ECC, Chesapeake, Labor Day, CC and the like. High Level tournaments later in the season. Just below that are things like the Boston Invite (earlier in the season, same high level). Just below that are all of the other club tournaments. Just below that are fun/competitive tourneys like Kaimana, Mars, Fools Fest, PADA Mosh, Wildwood and the like.

As for dealing with injuring peopel you know... well... it sucks on a number of levels, but they quickly accept that you were not purposefully playing that way and if you could go back and change it, you would in a heartbeat. Injuring people eon opposing teams can be different because of all the gamesmanship involved. I mean, I'm not a perfect sport and I've been known to say some pretty awful things to people on/around the field. That is not at all the same as wanting someone to get injured. The grey area is when someone on the other team has been injured, how do you respond? Do you pretend it didn't happen, do you rush over to help? Do you wait for his teammates to help?

In my time playing any number of sports, I've injured a number of friends and/or opponents, and I've been injured, including a torn ACL and multiple broken noses from teammates, and a myriad of other injuries from opponents. You need to accept that injuries happen, and so long as there was no malevolent intent OR reckless play, you can't really be upset.

The other side of that is that if you injure someone, you can't be upset when they scream at you in pain. I've done that a number of times (especially after having people kick me in the hand) just because that emotion needs to get out of my head.

Injuries suck, but they happen.

As for respect between teams... keep in mind that respect doesn't mean they won't fight you or get into an extremely heated argument with you.

The key for me is conveying that I never intentionally injure someone and keeping my conscience clean that way. If you've played against me in non Regionals/Nationals tournaments, you've probably seen me pull up to avoid contact (especially if we're playing coed). I feel that my awareness of/concern for the other players on the field has prevented a number of bone-crushing collisions in my past. The fact that I am conscious enough to avoid these instances when I play generally keeps my mind clear of guilt.

to get back to Heng-Scheng and Zac for a second, the problem here is that I count them not only as current/former teammates, but also as friends. I feel guilty not because of my actions or my intent, but the outcome of those actions regardless of intent. This is something for which humans are well known. Causality is a strange thing. The possible outcomes of your actions are just that-- possible outcomes. If I can look back and say "I made every reasonable effort to avoid that outcome" I then feel that I can let it go.

I'm going to stop now, even though I think I could keep writing in circles on this topic.

gapoole said...

Yeah, you can pull up. I've done it, especially a lot this summer playing mixed, but I pull up for dudes too because I'm concerned about getting hurt myself, being smaller than a lot of the guys out there (though I intend to remedy that a bit). But even when it's not my fault, I too feel bad. Summer league, a female opponent (and teammate from NYNJA) left her matchup to make a play on the disc that was coming to me. I busted her face up and landed on top of her, and that was AFTER I hesitated.

I like your last paragraph, though. I guess that was your beef with the guy who creamed your brother--he had not done everything in his power to prevent a horrible collision, which he should do in a for-fun coed tourney.

But I do wonder, how much respect can you have for somebody if you are screaming at them? Most "heated arguments" that I've seen in this sport involve people claiming that their opponents don't know the rules, that they are cheating, that somebody intentionally caused contact (we almost had a brawl with Delaware over that last one). I don't see how that equates to respect.

dusty.rhodes said...

Respect overall and respect in the heat of the moment are two different things.

We all lose our cool (I certainly do) and do things/say things that we regret later.

I've yelled at people whom I respect (teachers, coaches, teammates, opponents, friends, family, whatever) in the past, but it was just due to the particular instance and not indicative of my overall feelings. I'm not normally someone who yells, but hell, it happens.

It is also not as simple as "Always show respect through deference." Sometimes, the best way to earn and/or show respect is to fight back.

Sometimes it is precisely *because* you respect someone and you feel that they have let you down that you lose your shit, so to speak.

Ah the gray areas of life as played out in ultimate...

gapoole said...

Alright, I concede that there have been times when I was compelled to call somebody out on the carpet. Funny how much controversy the so-called "Preface" creates.